Forum .LRN Q&A: Response to continuation of dotLRN Governance

Posted by Michael Feldstein on

What is this thread about? The subject line is "continuation of dotLRN Governance." If this is truly about the governance structure then let's talk specifics. Let's talk about the details of what is or isn't "disenfranchising." The community will have to decide whether they are satisfied with the discussion of this topic on the previous thread or want to continue it.

If, on the other hand, this thread is about Open Force announcing their decision about the role they have decided to take (or not take) in the dotLRN governance, that's fine too. OF has every right to take whatever stand that they feel is consistent with their own sense of ethics, values, and self-interest. I had hoped for a different resolution but I respect their right to choose.

However, I think there is a dangerous trend developing here where a number of people on both sides of the governance debate seem to feel that they have to defend their honor and reputation. They have done so by responding to unspecified rumors and by publishing fragments of private email conversations. This can only be bad for the community. The fact is that most participants in OpenACS have shown themselves to be smart enough to judge people more by their actions than by their words. We all have to have a certain amount of faith that people will see through any rumors, falsehoods, and half-truths over time.

The last thread on this topic made it amply clear that many of us have passionate views--and passionate disagreements--on the governance topic. Such disagreements are healthy. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in defense of the participants of the Shay's Rebellion, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is our natural manure." Passionate disagreements are what democratic community is all about. But let's keep our passions focused where they can be productive.

On the topic of consensus, while I, like Simon (and like most everybody else, I think), feel that OF has been critical to the success of dotLRN, I recognize that we all have to do what we must. It goes without saying that we all feel grieved at this potential schism.

That's pretty much all I have to say about OF's decision or about the issues of integrity. I have more to say about the specifics of the governance plan but will hold my tongue until it becomes clear that governance is, in fact, what this conversation is about.